WORLD ARCHITECTURE NEWS - HOUSE OF THE WEEK
ROEWUarchitecture based in London, UK have recently completed a vacation home for an extended family in eastern Taiwan. Located in a dense urban area and confined on two sides by blank partywalls the house must gain all its light and air from the street while maintaining privacy within. It was also essential to maintain security while windows are left open for natural ventilation. The narrow and elongated plot was addressed by placing a series of solid volumes along the length of the site, allowing
void spaces in between to create continuity for light and air. A bamboo screen wraps around the house creating a buffer between the street and private life within.
On entering the house the experience is akin to being surrounded by an organic forest. Sun light, air and shadows filter through the bamboo poles into the spaces within. The mood and quality of the spaces changes during the course of a day and shifts with the changing seasons. In winter, a Karaoke Lounge and Spa on the second floor, form a focal point for bathing or singing. During summer, the roof deck with its variably patterned sun-shade system and surrounding bamboo, invites cooling breezes and becomes the family's favourite spot for outdoor living.
Taiwan is a country that is just beginning to be concerned about global warming and this project proposes a model for more sustainable development that fits with the climate and local lifestyles. The main source of energy consumption in Taiwanese buildings is air-conditioning during the long hot and humid summer months. By introducing several double and triple-height void spaces that penetrate through the heart of the house and open to the roof the whole house is naturally ventilated even
though 2 sides of the site are party/ lot-line walls where no openings were allowed.
This openness, however brings security risks and the screen developed here by ROEWU addresses this with a radical updating of the conventional Taiwanese window screen. The new screen also proposes a new use for highly sustainable fast-growing, locally sourced bamboo which is little used in construction at the moment.
The design of the bamboo screen is an example of ROEWU's research into the combination of hitech digital techniques with lo-tech fabrication. Using a detailed 3D model produced by the office in London, precise descriptions of every component were provided to the fabricators in Taiwan, who followed a series of quite simple step-by-step instructions to assemble the complex whole. A unique concealed fixing was also developed so that the bamboo poles appear to float in the air. The result is a dynamic dancing array; A unique form which combines digital calculation with an organic materiality. During the day, as the sun passes overhead, the bamboo screen catches the light in many different ways creating changing effects both inside and out.